Faulkner, pajamas, progress

I’m reading at Village Books here in Bellingham tomorrow night. Last week I sent out my usual email to friends asking them to try to stop by, and announcing my intention to wear pajamas to the reading. Thus far I have got promises from seven other people who will be showing up in jammies. So if you’re within striking distance, come on down. Treats for all those brave enough to dress up. Or, actually, down.

Yesterday our neighbor Bob (of X-Files fame) called me to read me an excerpt from an interview with William Faulkner. It’s the famous 1956 interview Faulkner did for the Paris Review. ((You can see the full archive listing on the Paris Review website, here but there’s only an excerpt from Faulkner’s.))

This was the bit that made Bob call me:

Q: Is there any possible formula to follow in order to be a good novelist?
Faulkner: Ninety-nine percent talent … Ninety-nine percent discipline … Ninety-nine percent work ….

And then this really made him laugh:

Q: Do you mean the writer should be completely ruthless?
Faulkner: …If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.”

[asa left]0312361750[/asa] They are publishing all the Paris Review author interviews, which are interesting reading. With a proviso: remember that these are critically successful writers, but each one of them struggled his or her way through every sentence ever put down. They had an approach that worked for them, and that’s all they can share. Though it may sound as if you’re being told how it must be done, please remember: there is no such thing. No absolutes, no secrets, no magic formulas. And probably not a good idea to rob your mother, either.

And all of this reminds me that I put in a revolving quote box in the far right hand column. I’ll be adding the 99% one of Faulkner’s to it asap.

I’m writing pretty well, and now I’ll go back to that.

PS don’t forget to vote in the caption-me poll!

2 Replies to “Faulkner, pajamas, progress”

  1. Funny interview, but after ‘As I Lay Dying,’ I don’t think I could bring myself to read any more of his work.

    We recently watched ‘Barton Fink’ again, and Jock Mahoney’s portrayal of a Faulkner-like character is excellent.

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